This week I find myself in Jerusalem where I am speaking at a conference called the Epicenter Conference with Joel Rosenberg and Anne Graham Lotz. If you don't mind, pray for me this week. We have not only the conference, but I'm going to be meeting pastors in the local area, both Jewish and Palestinian, to establish relationships and also possibly meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of the State of Israel. So keep that in prayer.
But today, we have a special guest speaker. Bob Shank is the founder and CEO of The Masters Program. He started the program in 1997 to provide strategic life coaching for leaders in God's kingdom. I've been privileged to know Bob for many years. He's a great speaker and a great mentor. Please give a warm welcome to Bob.
Bob Shank: Good Morning. I love that line. I find myself in Jerusalem. It's interesting. A lot of us have been praying that Skip would find himself and who knew it would be in Jerusalem. He's with Joel Rosenberg. If Joel were here, there's no question what he'd talk about because he's an expert, Middle East, End Times, that's his sweet spot. Joel might talk about the Tribulation which is the seven-year period that no one wants to be in. Three and a half years of tribulation and then it gets worse and it becomes the great Tribulation. But Joel couldn't be here today because he's with Skip finding himself in Israel. And so he has to be to be here.
My specialties are leadership and stewardship. And so what am I going to talk about? I'm going to talk about the recession, which is seven years, three and a half years that are awful and then three and a half years of great recession. The difference between Joel and Bob is Joel is telling you about Tribulation and telling you how you can avoid it by living in the Rapture. Well, here's the truth. There is no way to avoid the recession because we're already in it. The question is what do we do to get through it.
Today under the broad banner of a title "Money Talks", I want to come into this space and then just a few minutes together recognize that we are living in a very real world that needs some very real truth that can be involved in some very real practices that will allow us to experience the difficulty that has just invaded our world and not be taken down by it.
God is very practical about our lives, isn't he? He knows what we need and he's put the principles that we need to get through it not just alive, not just surviving, but thriving in the midst of a world that doesn't know what to do next. Are you picking up the signals that are all in your world today that folks are little economically overwhelmed? Are you picking any of that up? How many of you refuse to raise your hand in church? Let me see your hand? Got that out of the way. Friends, we're not talking about some minor course correction, we're talking about some radical overhaul.
When Paul wrote to the church in Rome in Chapter 12, he said in Verse 2, "Don't be conformed any longer to the patterns of this world. Instead be transformed by the renewing of your mind so you can prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God." We don't need a minor course correction, we need a radical overhaul because the way the world does life doesn't work, but God's way does. Do you believe that? We're going to zero in today if you'd like to find your way to the passage that we're going to explore together. It's found in 1 Timothy Chapter 6 and we're going to look at all but the last two verses of that chapter together this morning. It's an intriguing passage because Paul wasn't writing to just Christians in general, he was writing to a young man who was pastoring the church in Ephesus, a church planted by Paul. Ephesus was not just another town. It was the second largest city in the Roman empire. Second only to Rome, the capital. It was an economic power house. It was a religious center. The temple of Diana was there. So, people were coming and going as religious pilgrims and there was a major economic element in the local city's commerce in serving those religious pilgrims and selling them idols to take home to remember their trip to the temple of Diana.
As the church got established and we have the account of that establishment in Acts 19, as the church got established, one of its impacts on the city was a decline on the sale of idols.
The guys who made their living off of that didn't appreciate Paul and his team. They came to the city council and made raised charges against Paul. Here's what they said, "This men have turned the world upside down and now they've come here." Wow, that's a charge. And they had measured a decline in there economic flow from their idol sales. The city council brought them up and found the charges to be credible because they were preaching a God who was not worshipped idols. And so, they invited Paul and his team to go on and plant churches elsewhere. They kicked them out of town, but they didn't kick the church out of town, it stayed. Paul left Timothy, the pastor of that church. As he did, he coached him in his pastoring and leadership through writing two letters that we've got archived in our copies of the New Testament.
There were no bible colleges, no seminaries then, but this was pastoral training by correspondents. Aren't you glad that Timothy kept the letters? Aren't you glad they became part of our continuing understanding of how the church was established and how we live today in the light of that truth that shaped and formed their lives as well?
This morning as we get into it, it's no surprise that then when Paul wrote to Timothy he recognized he was going to have to talk about money. As the congregation got together, they needed a different way of approaching their financial lives than the people around them did. That's what the sixth chapter of 1 Timothy is devoted to focusing upon. Timothy was a young man. He was unsure of himself. There were ten good reasons why he didn't think he was the right guy but Paul believed in him, invested in him, and gave him the kind of insights and coaching that would allow him to accomplish what God had for him to do there.
Now I'm going to play off of a line that comes out of a parable that Jesus gave in Matthew 25 when he said, "The kingdom of heaven was like a man going on a journey who called his servants to him and entrusted his resources to them to manage in his absence. To one he had said he gave five talents. Talents in that day were a measure of money that closes equivalent for us would be a million dollars. To one of them, he gave five million, to one he gave two million, to one he gave one million each according to his ability. They didn't all have the same thing, but they had what the master had given them based on what he knew they could handle. Do you realize today that we all don't have the same amount? God has not given us all the same amount of money. Is that true? He has not distributed his resources equally. To one, he gives five. To one, he gives two. To one, he gives one, each according to his ability. Do you know what our world would say? Be envious. Plead your case. Go to customer service and say, "I got jipped." Well, there's no customer service window in heaven. Live with it.
The question is given what we've been entrusted to manage on Gods behalf, what do we do with that? In this passage in 1 Timothy Chapter 6, we're going to look at four groups, what I'm going to call the one-talent tribe, the two-talent tribe, the five-talent tribe, and then the group with no talents who are the church leaders. You pick up the humor anywhere you can find it.
Starting at Verse 1, Paul writes, "All who are under the yolk of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so the God's name in our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are brothers. Instead, they are to serve them even better because those who benefit from their service are believers and dear to them. These are the things you were to teach and urge on them."
Paul starts with what may well have been the largest group in the church in Ephesus, the people who were in the technical term of the day "indentured servants". That's a fancy word for slaves. People have no freedom because they had a master who owned them. Their performance before that master didn't benefit them at all. The master just kept feeding them so that they were capable of still going back to work. But they really had nothing to show forth at the end of the day. They ended everyday with less than they needed because they had no freedom. That was their status. They had less than they needed. The world's counsel to people who have less than they need is to be desperate. Why? Because desperate people do desperate things, don't they? But God's council for those people was to be faithful and to get out of debt if they could to pursue freedom.
Those people were frequently part of the congregations that Paul left in his wake as his ministry travels and planting of churches occurred around the Roman Empire. To the church in Corinth, he had written in 1 Corinthians Chapter 7 Verses 21 to 24. He said, "If you are a slave, be faithful. Treat your master like he is God himself and be respectful of the direction that you receive from him. But if you can get free, get free."
The orientation of God is always to get freedom from the god of this world. Let me tell you why. The world we live in and the economic system is under control of the god of this world and his goal is to keep people in slavery and subjection. You do realize that if you respond to every billboard, if you respond to every advertisement, if you respond to every opportunity to be a consumer and to take advantage of your credit worthiness, you do that for 90 days and you'll be in the deep funk and out of business, wont you?
When you're in slavery, what it means is -- to put in our terms, you get to the end of the month and you've long since ran out of money. To use the term that's in play in the world today, you're upside down. There's no way out. You have no resolution possible given your current circumstances. And that tribe has grown in the last five years. True? America is watching more economic slavery coming out the other end and God still comes in and says, "Stick with it. Demonstrate your faithfulness. Prove that there's a difference at the character level for the Christian who's under water and now find a way to work your way toward freedom. Don't escape, instead work your way out."
Travel back to the Book of Philemon on your own time, not my time. I've got a countdown clock going. But Philemon is a letter written by Paul to a rich guy whose slave ran away and found Christ, found Paul, found out that God would have him go back to his master and fulfill his duties because to be a good Christian is not to run away. To be a good Christian is to be faithful. If you need some help with that, go right across the courtyard to parchments and grab a copy of Dave Ramsey's book which is there to help you figure out how to get free, marching your way out of the bondage that the god of this world loves to put Christians in. That's the one-talent tribe, the advice by God, "Get out of debt."
Now, the two-talent tribe is the next focus and it begins in the next verse. In Verse 3, "If anyone teaches false doctrines, does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord, Jesus Christ and the Godly teaching is conceded and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy and strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of corrupt mind who have been robbed of the truth and who think that Godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain for we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grieves."
We started with the one-talent tribe who are the slaves. They've got a very particular set of circumstances and a very clear agenda that God wants them to follow to make peace with their situation. Now, this two-talent tribe or the folks whom I would deem the comfortable, God would say that they are the people who have all that they need. Not all that they want, but all that they need. These are the people who get to the end of the month and they run out of money and run out a month at the same time and they start up over again. They don't have extra, but they have enough.
In God's economic system, we would call those the biblical middle class. We wouldn't call them poor, but God would call them the biblical middle class. Why? Because God's counsel for them is standing and starts to contrast to the world's counsel. The world's counsel is to be anxious. Why? Because you don't have what you need for tomorrow, but God's encouragement is to be contended. Why? When we feel a little short because we've got what we need today but we don't have what we need tomorrow, we feel like we have to make provisions for that. And instead God says, "I'm the provision for that." The picture of that was the world's worst holy land trip. Trust me, you weren't on it.
I don't know how Moses sold it, but he got two million people to sign up for the holy land trip from hell. It was supposed to take 40 days and then it took 40 years. No buses and only one guide, no air conditioning, they ran out of food pretty quickly and then they didn't have any caterers in the yellow pages in Sinai. And so God took on the catering task himself. Do you remember what he did? Every morning, God provided just what they needed that day, except on Fridays when he sent double portion and they had enough for Friday and Saturday which was their worship day. So, they wouldn't have to collect on Saturday. And for 40 years they had fresh every morning but nothing left over. We wouldn't like that, but God loved it. Do you know why?
It maintained their utter dependence on him. And they could either choose to be anxious or contented and the best choice was contented because anxiety wouldn't change a thing. Isn't that true? Anxiety doesn't change a thing. It just ruins your life. How could you be satisfied with contentment when you've only got every day's provision because the God who provided today is the God whose going to provide for tomorrow. If you trust that, you're at peace. You do know, friends, that for those folks, God's direction for them is to give God his due.
What does that mean? Those same folks were the folks that God said needed to develop a habit of life that said, "When you're income is received, God gets the first ten percent of it." On a continuing, systematic, almost unconscious basis without even thinking about it, God gets the first ten percent. He said, "Wait a minute, these are people who have just enough. They don't have an extra ten percent." It's not about having an extra ten percent. It's about God getting the first ten percent. You know why? In 35 years of counseling people on money issues, let me tell you what I found. People who give God the first ten percent have savings accounts and people who can't afford it have overdraft accounts. And then when they find out that God's system was designed not to benefit him but to benefit them, everything begins to change. Here's why. They finally realized that when they're not giving God the first ten percent, God has them on his most wanted poster rather than in his delivery list for folks to get blessings from heaven.
Malachi 3 is a frightening passage that you don't want to read, so I'll read it for you. Verse 8, Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, "How did we rob you?" in tithes and offerings. You're under a curse, the whole nation of you because you're robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. "Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the flood gates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops and the vines in your field will not cast their fruits," says the Lord almighty. "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the Lord Almighty.
Did you get what he said? When I failed to give God his due which is the ten percent off the top, he puts me on the list of the thieves. And do you think does God bless thieves? Well, according to his word in Malachi, he has no plans to bless thieves. He wants to bless the faithful. My friend, George Barnet, is an expert in surveying and he does surveys and then writes books that upset people. That's his mission in life. A few years ago, George decided to see how we were doing in terms of American Christians and practicing the disciplines of the Christian life. So, they constructed a survey structure that called people at dinner hour and began asking a series of questions. Now, the series of questions in the right order. The first question was, "Have you had a born again experience? Do you know Jesus Christ in a personal way?" But the people said yes to that.
The next series of questions were about, "Are you involved in a local church?" The people who said yes to that, they then went on to drill deep on about eight or nine ongoing disciplines of the Christian life and one of those disciplines was the discipline of tithing, giving ten percent off the top to God.
So, asking people who are Born Again go to church, "Do you practice the discipline of tithing?" Here's what George found the across American, a representative sampling from people who answer the phone. Here's what they found. Sixty percent of Christians who go to church say they don't tithe and have no plans to. Forty percent said they do. Then they asked more questions of that group and found after those questions were answered that in fact thirty percent of them said they tithe but didn't and only ten percent did.
Some raising their findings, what they found was sixty percent of churches of Christians are thieves, thirty percent are thieves and liars, and ten percent of them are disciples. They say, "I'm a disciple, I just don't tithe." What we call that is a fool because if I claim to be a disciple but I don't practice the disciplines of the Christian life, a disciple by definition is a person who practices the disciplines of the Christian life.
Friend, I'm not going to speak for Bob. I'm here to speak for God. And God said, "If you don't believe me, put me to the test. Give me 90 days. Test me now and see. You take me at my word and let me show what I can do." What he said was two things. One, the losses that you've come to expect won't occur and second, the benefits that you could only hope for you'll begin to realize. Why? Because God can be trusted. Let me just say, friends. God can be trusted. The question is can we? And most Christians have proven that they'll never find out whether or not they can trust God because God's never found them trustworthy. This is dancing with the star and you have to lead.
That's to convicting. Let's move on. I told you there were four groups here. The first was the one talent tribe. The second is the second-talent tribe, the comfortable. Now he takes a break and he addresses the leaders and Timothy in this case is the leader and so he writes to Timothy and he takes this departure from the teaching to say, "But you, man of God," Verse 11, "flee from all of these money stuff, pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness, fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses, in the side of God who gives life to everything and of Christ Jesus who I'll testify in before Pontius Pilate made the good confession. I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time. God, the blessed and only ruler, the king of kings, the lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives unapproachable light whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever, Amen."
You see, for the leaders, their status, slaves who have less than they need, the comfortable have just what they need. The leaders, what's their status? They're utterly dependent on God's people. They have no source of income, so they're supported by God's people. You say, "No, they're supported by God." No, they're supported by God's people. God doesn't do electronic fund transfers from the bank of heaven. If the people don't give, the people who serve the church don't eat. That's the way it works. That was Timothy's condition, the command of the council of the world. Do you know what the world says to people who work in ministry? "Why don't you get a real job?" Have you ever heard somebody say that about someone in ministry? May God cause you to be a mute like he did the Father of John the Baptist if those words ever come out of your mouth about a person in ministry. Folks, that is a real job.
The world doesn't get it, but God knew Timothy would. But the council of the kingdom, how do you that job? Here's what you do. You live and then you lead like Jesus, who by the way left his glorious riches in heaven to come and live in poverty so that we could become rich. No one goes into ministry for the money. So what's the strategy for the leaders?
Live to acquire character instead of cash. And now Paul settles last on the fourth of these groups. First, the one talent folks who have less than they need, the two-talent folks who have just what they need, the leaders, and now the fourth group which is the five-talent folks and their status is they have more than they need. More than they need.
Listen to what he says to them in Verse 17, "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant, nor to put their hope in wealth which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous, and willing to share."
The rich, what is their status? They have more than they need. Well, we live at a time when no one wants to admit to being rich because in the culture today, they're the bad guys. Tough everybody wants to be one of them. Are there any rich people here today? Well, let me settle it, rich in this present world. How big is this present world? There are 7.8 billion people, all of whom God loves equally.
All of them, Jesus came to give his life to redeem. True? 7.8 billion people. How many of them are rich? What do you think would it be like? The top five percent would be the rich? Top one percent? What does it take to be on that top one percent of the world today? Do you know what it takes to be the top one percent of the world today? Fifty thousand dollars a year in income, household income, would put you on the top one percent.
Let me make it even more vivid. How many of you have refrigerators at home? Boy, there's a big opportunity for refrigerator sales in Albuquerque. How many of you have refrigerators at home? We're getting closer to honesty. Boy, wouldn't it be amazing? If you get a little more honest, we can all join AA. Friends, how many of you with a refrigerator have something in it? Watch this. If you have a refrigerator with something in it from God's perspective in the world today, you are rich. Most of the world doesn't have a refrigerator because they don't need one because they have nothing leftover from today, for tomorrow. You say refrigerator, I've got a deep freeze in the garage.
It's amazing how many people say, "Well, I'm not rich. I've got as many cars, I have garage spaces, but the cars are in the garage because in the garage there is this stuff we bought at Costco that we can't get in the house. We got in the house first but after we got in the house we bought new stuff at Costco and we had to move this stuff from Costco that was in the house into the garage. And that put us in a dilemma because the stuff was in the garage. We had to find a place for us so we got and rented this storage space. So we take the stuff that used to be in the garage that used to be in the house and put them in the storage space. We do not know what we going to do next. But we're not rich."
From God's vantage point, you are. Why? Because to be rich says you have more than you need. And the world's council, if you're rich, here's what the world says to do, be arrogant. And look up arrogant in the dictionary, Donald Trump's picture is right there next to it.
Do you know what arrogance is? Arrogance says, "There's nobody who can teach me anything unless they have more money than I do." And that makes arrogance the most recurring virus that is affecting and infecting Americans today. You can't tell me anything. And don't put your hope and wealth which is so uncertain. Leaning on your money is a dangerous thing when the money gets pulled out from under you.
Friends, when Paul wrote to Timothy, he said, "Get in the face of the people who are rich and command them." It's the only time he uses that passage, that word in this passage. He didn't say to command the slaves. He didn't even say to command the comfortable. He said, "Teach them." But in the context of the rich, he said, "Get in the face of a guy or gal who say's you can't teach me anything and command them not to be arrogant and not to lean on their money. Instead, hear the marching orders for those who have a refrigerator with something in it."
How big was that crowd again? Our numbers are dropping. What did you do, well the refrigerator on E-bay while we are talking? Here it is. What are we supposed to do? Here are your marching orders. Do good, be rich in good deeds, be generous and willing to share. First, do good and be rich in good deeds. Do you know what rich people say? "I don't have to do anything." Rich people when they move in the kingdom space they say, "I'm really busy with other stuff so I don't have time for all this volunteer stuff." Do you know what God says? And let me just inject that the American ideal of retirement, which presumes that while I still have vitality and capability, I'll reach a place where I've got all that I need to pay for the rest of my life so I can take the rest of life to presume my leisure, my recreation, my good life, travel, play, adventure. That's my American right.
Boy, it's quiet. Friends, that concept was created in the planning room of hell and stands in start contrast to the truth of heaven. There was a man Jesus talked about who had all of his retirement plans funded and then said to himself, "You have many goods laid up for many years to come. Take your ease. Eat, drink, and be merry. " But God said, "You're a fool. Tonight your soul will be required from you. Who is going to get what you've left behind?" Friends, what God says is if you don't have to work anymore for money, work now for meaning. Do good and be rich in good works. You have no defense for making play your reason for getting up everyday. There may well be a day when you have to stop working or when you can no longer perform the thing for which you are paid.
That's understandable and embraced by God. But between now and then, never to live my life for leisure but to live my life for meaning is the command to the rich. To do good, be rich in good deeds, and then watch this to be generous and willing to share and already tithing. But now the question is what more?
As Randy Alcorn says in his great little book "The Treasure Principle", God doesn't increase your income to raise your standard of living. God raises your income to raise your standard of giving. And the picture of that is a man who comes to Jesus. We don't know his name. God is gracious and not giving us his name. All we know about him is that he was a rich, young ruler. The story is held in Matthew and Mark and Luke's accounts of the savior's ministry. The man comes and says, "What do I have to do to go to heaven?" And Jesus says "Keep all the commandments." And he says, "I've done that since I was a kid." Jesus could have taken him up on his self-righteousness there but he didn't. He knew he was wealthy, so he decided to test him on another level. He said, "One thing you lack," -- you've heard the story many times and you are a bible scholar. I want you to repeat it with me. What Jesus said to him was, "Sell," come on, go with me, "Sell what you have, give money to the poor, and come follow me." As a congregation, we've just practiced and we demonstrated the selective eradication of truth by the evil one who doesn't want you to get the whole story.
I have asked that question out to thousands of people around America. I would say the same thing. Sell what you have, give the money to the poor, and come follow me. That's part of what Jesus said, but not all of what Jesus said. Do you know what he really said? "Sell what you have, give the money to the poor then you will have treasure in heaven and then you come and follow me." Here is what Jesus knew. Rich people struggle with the fact that they've got money that they got to put somewhere. As soon as you're struggling to try and figure out where to put your money, you are rich. Treasure is when you have more than you need. What are you going to do with it? Jesus says, "Here are your choices. Treasures on earth wear them off and does corrupt, where thieves break in and steal." He was describing Wall Street, thou America hadn't been discovered yet, or entrusted to heaven, treasures in heaven where often rust do not break in and steal and where thieves --
Often rust doesn't corrupt and thieves don't break in the seal. Watch this, "For where you're treasure is, there your heart will be also." You know what God wants for people who are rich? For their hearts to be in heaven. Do you know how he gets that? They move their deposits from here to there. Why would that be a good idea? As Jesus said in parable of the shrewd manager, "Therefore I tell you, when friends for yourself and unrighteous money, so that when," not if, "when it fails, the friends will welcome you into eternity."
Because friends treasure left in the hands of the world will fail. Treasure put in the hands of God will be waiting for you when you arrive on the other side. The strategy, put your treasure to work. Here was what Paul finished this passage with in Verse 19, "In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."
It's funny. One of the captions that the world wants us to see under the model of a leisure-based retirement is someone sort of enjoying some recreation somewhere and the caption would be "This is the Life". And 2,000 years ago, Paul said the person who gets it, who understands that giving time and talent and treasure to the kingdom, being generous about the things that really matter, that's really life.
And the world under the control of the evil one who wants to enslave people to his system can never deliver what he's promised, but God never promises beyond his willingness to deliver. Friends, may I just tell you if you continue to operate on the wisdom of the world, even if you are in the rich today, you are moving toward comfortable, if you were in the comfortable five years ago, you're moving toward slavery because that's the way the evil one flows.
But under God's direction, we can flow from slave to comfortable to rich and define to our lives being invested in what really matters, how would life be if your time was available to serve the kingdom and your treasures will be on deposit in heaven and you could say with the apostle Paul, "This is the life that is truly life." Does that have any sizzle? Friends, that's what God wants for you and when you want it for you as well, the invitation is there to go with him
Would you pray with me? Oh, before we pray, they asked me "Do you want to do an altar call?" and I said, "I'd love to." Would you bring your wallets to the altar? Let's pray.
Father, the enemy has us in his crosshairs. In fact, he wants to convince us that all you want is our money. He is so shrewd and so deceitful. What you want for us is life and we'll never gain it. The life that is truly life will never be ours if we're operating our financial life under the control and direction of the god of this world.
Father, every one of us in this room today needs your counsel and your advice in the critical matters that affect us every single day as we manage the practical elements of life on earth.
Father, we have experienced the slippage towards slavery as we've fallen into listening to the god of this world. Would you bring the light of truth into our experience and give us the faith to step forward in obedience. For some of us, it's a get out-of-death message. For some of us it's a 90-day challenge to see if you would really bless us if we were faithful to you. For some of us, it's about rebooting what we do with our riches and treasure and recognizing that service to the kingdom is our ultimate calling. Take us there. Give us the life that's truly life. I pray that in the powerful name of the one who left heaven's glory to live among us. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.